It is not a usual sight to find a petite young woman installing a bookshelf wall unit in an Edelweiss hillside home — one that she custom built herself. Not unless it’s Mollie Hunt, who recently completed an intensive course in “Traditions of Furniture” at Port Townsend School of Woodworking. It wasn’t always her dream to work with wood and power tools. Rather, she wanted to be a ballet dancer when she grew up.
Mollie, a Liberty Bell High School graduate (2012) whose hometown is Twisp, took dance lessons for 12years from Lorrie Wilson at LFW School of Dance. After graduation, she headed to Western Washington University as a dance major. All was well until she injured her back and was unable to continue the dance program. A creative person by nature, she switched her major to art and graduated with a Studio Art BA degree.
One of the classes at Western was in the wood shop. Although first intimidated by power tools and a typically male environment where she didn’t see others who looked like her, she enjoyed creating useful pieces out of wood. She tucked the woodworking passion away during the first years after graduation when she worked as a marketing illustrator, a mixing lead in an industrial chocolate production kitchen, among other endeavors.
Here in the valley, she was first introduced to the building trades when she worked with dry wall — not installing the hefty sheets themselves — but the detail work of mudding. At another job with a family friend — who was also a general contractor — she sanded beams, dug post holes, painted, set rebar, demolished walls, laid roofing, framed walls, and installed siding. Not bad for a 5 foot, 2 inch, petite 20-something. It was apparent to her, though, that the heavy-duty construction work was not sustainable for her and her body type.
She became acquainted with several custom woodworkers in the valley for whom she expresses gratitude for their willingness to mentor her and allow her to work with them in their shops. She includes Rick Swanson, whose distinctive woodwork graces many a Methow Valley home, Jeff Gill at Smiling Woods Yurts, who patiently taught her how to work with industrial power tools and lift heavy lumber, and Jeff and Noelle Kastning at Sawtooth Ridge Woodworks, where she experienced the business model of building and shipping small pieces — such as their floating shelf — nationwide.
Mollie has especially found a role model in Winthrop custom cabinetmaker Marybeth Tannehill, who has shared her shop and expertise with Mollie as she embarks on her woodworking venture. Mollie and Marybeth have a commonality in their love of working with their hands to create something both beautiful and functional out of wood.
Mollie and her husband, Grant Eadie, live in Twisp. She hopes to pass forward to young girls her love of woodworking and an attitude that “you can do it.” To obtain more information about Mollie’s Woodworks, contact her at email@example.com.
The Mazama Community Club is connecting neighbors and building community with several events throughout the winter. A Movie Night will be held every first Thursday of the month beginning Nov. 2 with free popcorn while watching “The Eagle Huntress.” Movies will run through March. On Sunday (Nov. 5), Gina McCoy will give a TED talk on bio-char at 6:30 p.m. Gerry Bell’s ukulele group will perform the first Tuesday of each month beginning Nov. 7. Become a member and follow upcoming events at mazamacommunityclub.org.